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I need help converting this project to reality for my office that I currently work in. I basically want to have sensors(idk which or what kind) behind a bookshelf in individual racks and have those sensors communicate with an app to tell if that rack is full or not. I have no background in programming or robotics but I am willing to learn and read as much as possible if someone can guide me in the right direction it would be really helpful. I also wan it to be as cheap as possible.

I have attached an image of how I want the setup to be. Thanks in advance enter image description here

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closed as off-topic by Mark Booth Sep 25 '17 at 16:29

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions must demonstrate an understanding of the problem to be solved, so they should include details of what you want to achieve, what you tried, what you saw, what you expected to see and what you don't understand. See How to Ask, tour, help center and the Robotics question checklist for advice on how to write a good question." – Mark Booth
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Robotics Sid Bhand, but I'm afraid that Unbounded Design Questions are off-topic because there are many ways to solve any given design problem. We prefer practical, answerable questions based on Robotics problems that you face, so questions which ask for a list of approaches or a subjective recommendation on a method (for how to build something, how to accomplish something, what something is capable of, etc.) are off-topic. Please take a look at How to Ask & tour for more information on how stack exchange works. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Sep 25 '17 at 16:28
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I would suggest to start with something simple and later on work out the small details.
For a fast Proof of Concept you can use an Arduino Yun which comes with built-in WiFi connectivity.

The Arduino will be connected to an array of proximity sensors, either ultrasonic or IR, and will return the racks with books, simply check if the distance retrieved by the sensor is less than x cm, where x is the length of the single rack. Obviously you should take an average of several measurements with a small delay (say 10 uS) because these sensors are subject to heavy fluctuations and may cause false positives/negatives.

Then the Arduino will connect to a backend and stream all the data using one of the several available protocols. You can use an online ready to use backend such as Temboo to visualise data and later on develop a smartphone app.

Further improvements can be on the uC and code side, maybe using a raw ESP8266 to be put in sleep mode and enabled once a while to poll sensors and trasmit data to go back in low power mode.

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